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All Hands On Jane Reunite the Coven for Spooky Seasonal Single, "Witches"

Something wicked this way comes.

by Christine Leonard

Photo by Rob Smeltzer

Ready to shred and wail like a band of high voltage banshees, Calgary’s All Hands on Jane have nailed down a brand new track, “Witches,” that encapsulates their elation at once again stirring the pot together.

Recorded at the Sound Priory with audio technomancer Kirill Telichev, “Witches” conjures a magical musical groove that was mastered by Juno-award winner Jamie Sitar (William Prince, Bif Naked, Randy Bachman, Chilliwack, Swollen Members, Classified) from his haunt at Outta Town Sound.

There’s something to be said for sticking to an original recipe, whether you’re talking about a festive tray of Halloween goodies or devastating blues rock meltdown. Adhering to tried-and-true basics will always pull you through in the end, which is why All Hands on Jane is over the moon with excitement to welcome their original homegirl/bassist Tammy Amstutz back to the fold. Rejoining her twisted sisters; guitarist Teri Wagner, percussionist Tess Graham and keyboardist Kaitlin Gibson for another kick at the proverbial cat, Amstutz returned to the fold this past June after enjoying a five-year, family-building absence. 

RANGE caught up with the newly reformed quartet to get the lowdown on how “Witches” arose from seeds that All Hands planted with their albums Animal Worship (2018), Sorry I Set You On Fire (2016) and Your Wizards Ways (2012).

How did the band reunite? How does it feel to be working together again?

Tess: Teri hosted a lovely tea party and we were all there. We all got dressed up, had tons of laughs and the evening ended in all of us jamming in the living room. Needless to say, we missed the dynamic that was the four of us and we planned a jam session shortly after. Working together again with Tammy involved has been really special. As she discusses, our astrological signs span all four elements and well, we wouldn’t be complete without the Fire that Tammy brings to the table. She is very talented but also business oriented and helps us stay on track in this aspect. We each have our own strength we bring to the table and we simply weren’t complete without her.

Tell me about the live shows you’ve done since reuniting. How was that experience compared with the ‘old’ days of AHOJ?

Tammy: My favourite thing about AHOJ is that our energies – earth, air, water, fire – always make me feel like I’m where I belong. Since playing the Distress Centre fundraiser, recording Witches in the studio, and now preparing for One Weekend Only, it feels like I’m back home after a long trip. Especially when we’re together on that stage. It’s like a family getting together with more beer and less food. I think the only major differences are that my hangovers are harder to kick and I have a bigger budget for gear. But this lineup is still the best lineup I’ve ever played alongside, and time away didn’t change that in the slightest.

Describe the new song and how your collective vision for it evolved. What’s the vibe/message behind it?

Kaitlin: Traditionally, we have gone into the studio almost over-prepared, but this time we went in with open minds knowing that there was room to try out new ideas, which I think really helped to sweeten different parts up. While it still has that Janes vibe, the verses are a bit more on the nose than our previous songs, and in my opinion it’s a bit more ‘approachable’ overall. The chorus and the bridge are a bit of an anthem to empower everyone to find their magic.  Figure out what makes them powerful. You can be a good witch and a bad bitch.  and everything in between.  Be your authentic self.  That’s magic. That’s power.

What makes this original AHOJ lineup so special/unique/dynamic? What is next for the band?

Teri: Like many bands, All Hands on Jane have experienced several lineup changes. We’re privileged to have a community of terrific musicians in Calgary. However, the core of AHOJ has always been me, Tess, and Kaitlin. We’re good friends outside of this project, and in our experience, we need to have a friendship bond to generate power and force on stage together. When Tammy joined the band, it changed our stage dynamic and music in a way no one else has replicated. Our current lineup revisits the golden age of Janes; power, love, joy and witchery.”

All Hands on Jane perform October 29 at Melissa’s Missteak (Banff, AB) | RSVP